Echeveria Vs Aeonium: Key Differences

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By Bryan Peters

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Are you a succulent enthusiast looking to expand your collection? Do you find it challenging to differentiate between similar-looking varieties? If so, we have an informative article for you!

Succulent plant varieties are known for their stunning looks and easy maintenance, but did you know that even among these plants, there are subtle differences that can help you tell them apart?

The Echeveria and Aeonium are two of the most common succulents that are often mistaken for each other due to their similar rose-like appearance. However, with a closer look, you can differentiate them based on the method of their leaves’ growth. Echeveria leaves point upward, while Aeonium leaves grow flat.

In this article, we’ll explore the unique characteristics of echeveria vs aeonium, including their origin and care requirements, to help you expand your succulent collection with confidence.

What Is Echeveria Plant?

Echeveria is a succulent plant that originates from the semi-desert regions of Mexico. It has a rose shape, easy to care for, and is hard to drought.

It comes with a wide range of stunning colors and sizes, and flowers readily, with bloom colors ranging from coral-pink, yellow-edge, or reddish-orange.

However, unlike many other succulent plants, the Echeveria is a rapid grower, perfect as ground covers, and does well in pots. Thanks to its adaptability and beautiful feats, this plant has become likable and is popular in nurseries and garden centers. 

Additionally, it has become a notable prospect in coastal California at specialty purveyors, including Succulent Gardens in Castroville and Annie’s Annuals and Perennials in the East Bay.

Echeveria produces eye-catching colors, ranging from pink, green, and white to red, resulting in its stunning look and a vibrant feel to any garden, centerpiece, or bouquet.

See Also: Echeveria Vs Sempervivum

What Is Aeonium?

Aeonium is a genus of over 35 succulent species featuring unique glossy, waxy leaves patterned in a rosette form. It is commonly called tree houseleeks.

It has species ranging from the low-growing A. tabuliforme and A. smithii, growing a few inches wide, to broader species, growing many feet wide like A. arboretum, A. valverdense, and A. holochrysum. Aeonium features rounded rosette-like leaves that are so stunning that the plant is often confused for artificial plants.

The rosettes have a solid color or are variegated in white, yellow, red, and green and produce little star-looking blooms, growing in clusters between the rosettes, yet are not especially seen.

Aeoniums are perfect in gardens or as houseplants. They can grow slowly and take over five years before producing a small group of blooms between the rosettes. Many aeoniums are monocarpic; in other words, the mother plants die after blooming, yet, the pups will keep producing more shoots.

Echeveria VS Aeonium

HighlightsEcheveria Aeonium
AppearancesSpoon-shaped leaves are not as large as aeonium, but more round-shapedFeatures broader leaves with pointed leaf edges, but not oval-shaped as echeveria
Colors Lots of color ranging from blue, green, orange, pink, red, silver, variegated, to yellowDoesn’t have as much color varieties as the echeveria, and its color ranges from green, yellow, dark-red or garnet, black, and yellow striped
SizesCan only reach up to 1 foot tall at full maturityCertain aeonium species can grow up to 5 feet tall
Origin Primarily native to the Central AmericaPrimarily native to the Canary Islands, Africa
Lifespan It is not monocarpicIt is monocarpic
Toxicity It is not toxic to pets and humansSlightly toxic to pets and humans
Moisture ConditionWill require less moisture, as its leaves can store up water.Will require a bit more moisture

Differences Between The Echeveria & Aeonium

As mentioned earlier, the Echeveria and the aeonium are different plants, irrespective of their striking resemblance. In other words, you will find notable differences despite sharing similar features, including their appearances, life cycle, and origin.

Read on to see the most common differences between Echeveria and the aeonium.

1. Appearance

Talking about the appearance, without a second look, you will confuse the Echeveria to be aeonium. However, you can tell them apart when you look closer at their leave appearance. In other words, aeoniums feature broader leaves than those of echeverias. 

Even though the leaves of both plants bear a spoon shape, aeonium leaves as not as oval as echeveria leaves. Again, the leaves of aeoniums have teeth-like pointed edges at the end of their leaves, while echeverias do not have them.

2. Colors

Since there are many echeveria species, there are also many colors ranging from blue, green, orange, pink, red, silver, and variegated to yellow.

As long as aeonium is concerned, it doesn’t have as many color varieties as the Echeveria, and its color ranges from green, yellow, dark-red or garnet, black, and yellow striped.

3. Sizes

The Echeveria and aeonium possess very few subspecies that can reach up to 2 inches when established. However, certain aeonium species can grow up to 5 feet tall in the right conditions, while the largest varieties of Echeveria can only reach up to 1 foot tall at full maturity. 

4. Origin

Aeonium is primarily native to the Canary Islands, Africa; hence, it will thrive in dry climates. However, they will require more moisture than the echeveria species, primarily native to Central America, and can store moisture in their leaves.

5. Bloom Production & Life Span

Both echeveria and aeonium form blooms, in which flower seeds can be used to reproduce more of these plants; however, aeonium is a monocarpic plant. In other words, once the aeonium is done producing blooms, the mother plant will die.

On the other hand, since Echeveria is not monocarpic, it will continue to live after producing flowers.

6. Toxicity

If you have pets around your living home or you live with your kids, you will want to know whether your plant is toxic or not. Echeveria is not toxic; hence, it will not harm your kids or pets even though it doesn’t have the best taste.

On the other hand, aeonium is a bit toxic to pets and kids; hence, you must be very careful when growing it around your home. It contains saponins that are slightly toxic to animals and can result in skin irritation and stomach issues like nausea, diarrhea, and vomiting.

7. Propagation & Care

Both the Echeveria and aeonium have different propagation methods. For instance, you can propagate aeonium by cuttings or by removing offsets from the base of the plant. On the other hand, the best way to propagate Echeveria is by leaves, offsets, or seed methods. 

However, both plants are drought-hardy and only require occasional watering. You must not overwater them to avoid causing root rot.

Again, both plants can attract pests like mealybugs; however, aeoniums are generally hardier and more pest and disease resistant than Echeveria.

Brief Highlights Of Basic Differences

  • Aeoniums possess larger rosettes and more giant stems compared to Echeverias.
  • Aeoniums can survive cooler temperatures and deal with a light frost, while Echeveria likes higher temperatures.
  • Aeoniums require some hours of direct sunlight, while Echeveria will thrive in partial shade.
  • Aeoniums can be propagated by cuttings and removing offsets, while leaves, offsets, or seeds can propagate Echeveria.
  • Aeoniums are generally hardier and more resistant to pests and diseases than Echeveria.
  • Aeonium is monocarpic, meaning they bloom once and die affectionately, known as a death bloom, while Echeverias are polycarpic and can bloom many times over their lifespan.

How Is Echeveria and Aeonium Similar?

Despite the notable differences highlighted above, the Echeveria and aeonium share some striking similarities, especially since they are succulent plants.

Most people often mistake one for the other because of their similar nature. The following are the basic similarities between the Echeveria and aeonium:

1. Plant Type

Echeveria and aeonium are succulent varieties and one of the most common similarities.

2. Appearance

We have been stressing how Echeveria and aeonium resemble each other so much that you need a second look to distinguish one from the other.

They both have spoon-shaped leaves, making them resemble each other at first glance. Both plants also have the same petal look, making them resemble daisies.

3. Size

Both Echeveria and aeonium possess varieties of subspecies with small sizes. They can grow up to 1 to 2 inches at full maturity.

4. Health

Both Echeveria and aeonium grow leggy or long, unwieldy branches, which means both succulents are not very healthy.

Conclusion

Knowing the differences and similarities between echeveria and aeonium plants is vital to understanding the one that best suits your condition. Both plants are easily confused, given their striking resemblance.

However, to differentiate them, you must study the leaf shape, size, plant color, and other differences like the type of soil, amount of water, amount of fertilizer, origin, and even toxicity.

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